Life As Theme Camp

Traveling through Amsterdam in fur pants – as a Theme Camp ambassador.

Burning Man is overflowing with lessons. One that I’m becoming increasingly aware of is that life is more awesome when you live as an ambassador from a Theme Camp.

Last week, during my Hug Nation broadcast, I discussed what Theme Camps are and how they have profoundly affected the way that I interact with the world.


Halcyon )'(

About the author: John "Halcyon" Styn


Halcyon is a 21-year Burning Man participant and co-founder of Pink Heart camp. He is author of "Love more. Fear less." and producer of the Burning Man short film, "The Pink Path." He's won Webby awards for his over-the-top personal site & his "Love On Demand" video podcast Halcyon co-founded the San Diego based "1st Saturdays" homeless outreach program based on Burning Man Principles and coaches people how to be radically self expressed in the default world. You can find his full Playa Tips & Tricks series at

13 Comments on “Life As Theme Camp

  • My first experience with a theme camp ended badly. I say *ended*, it is still a topic of conversation among them. In fact, at Burning Man last year they sent a message back to our new camp stating that I and another ex-camper were “banned for life” from their camp. We were okay with that :)

    My second experience with a theme camp was totally awesballz!

    I think you have to have those bad experiences every once in a while to really be able to appreciate it when the good times happen.

    And yes, I think living your life in the default world as if you’re in a theme camp makes you more aware of the people around you and what you can do to make life easier, or more fun.

    Thanks Halcyon!!! You keep reminding me to spend time getting to know myself better. Thank you for these gentle nudges.

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  • @Madeline – Thank YOU.
    Banned for life!? yikes! But you are totally right. Camp experiences can be amazing or horrific.

    Someone else made the point that it’s more about seeing yourself as an ambassador – from a theme camp, or BRC, or wherever. :)

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  • ellerycELlery says:

    I’m over sixty, and when I grow up, I want to be Halcyon!!

    Ranger Spatch and I founded the Sunscreen Station in 2006; it persists in Pleasure Garden in 2011. I crank ice cream and sherbert on the Playa, and my go-to-court briefcase has Burning Man stickers. I support my Regional; and participate in DeCom’s.

    So, I guess that I’m getting there.

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  • :P ((Hugs)) and sherbert to you, ellerycELIery!

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  • JV says:

    That is an excellent way of framing everyday existence.

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  • Kathleen says:

    Thank you, Halcyon! May all of our beautiful colors shine but may we be open to allow them to intensify to their mystical potential combined as a rainbow or a painting or a work of nature. Love and hugs!!!

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  • Booka says:

    It has been pointed out that the common currency of BM is “how COOL you look”. With that concept in place; I am truely a Ambassador from a sublime foreign court and a man of great wealth. My travels in this often exotic and dangerous default world are to represent my Peoples highly developed mode of Self Expression. Arduous travels as a emissary of a gentler race that has as a mission to persuade other cultures to utilize and cultivate their natural resouces of Style. These endemic riches come in the form raw Fashion, devoid of aesthetic restrictions. This fullfilling and worthy goal is the source of a overal personal enlightenment that is propelling me onward Home.

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  • Fox says:

    Love your viewpoint on this and other videos that you’ve posted. This is a great perspective. Stopped by your camp last year to gift water to you guys but missed you. Perhaps next year. I always bring close to 300 gallons of water but I’m not part of any theme camp and mostly, we just squirt it away in showers and squirt guns. Anyway, love your videos and thanks for posting.

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  • @Kathleen – Indeed! Love & hugs. <3

    @Booka - I may debate you on the currency of cool. :) But I would love to see some of that raw fashion!

    @Fox - THANK YOU for the water! Your gift allowed us to gift even more...I Love that!! Hope to see you at Home.

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  • Epiphany Starlight says:

    I never met a stranger… for no one is stranger than I…eye…wink
    Thanks, Halcyon, for your wonderful example of ambassadorship.

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  • Urban Muse says:

    Hey Halcyon,

    Love your insights this week! You’re so right – we are connected! And we do this through channels that may be found in groups, our nation, our universe. Philosophically we connect through activities – the things that we do. We are all participants in our shared future – so manifest through love!

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  • shubes says:

    Your thought’s and similar experiences have mirrored mine in the past, Halcyon. When I went to the last 10KLF festival by myself, I was determined to bring that spirit and mentality of being at burning man. I decorated my little camp site the best I could, it was humble and subtle but nobody else did much like a theme camp. And I believe it was a far different experience for me than had I done what I would normally do, keep to myself, insulate, not interact with others on the same level as at burning man.
    The difference was noticeable. I met several people in part by just having a somewhat decked out camp site. Sometimes people walking by would stop and chat for a while. I had a tray of mint lifesavers laying out, I kept my space open -warm and inviting with candles and votives, my car doors unlocked, even when I wasn’t there and had gone into the venue to see some music. Returning to my camp I would sometimes get gifts from other people leaving them in my candy tray. I really think that bringing it and sharing that vibe really had an impact on people. And that made me feel great. Can’t wait for Rites!
    Hugs, Halcyon. Thank you.


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  • sydney fenna says:

    MAY 9, 2011

    Are tickets sold out now? I cannot find this information on this web-site


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